The next in-state commit?

Unlike last year, Nebraska's first commits were from within the borders as opposed to beyond them. With D.J. Jones and Ricky Henry joining the fold, the worries behind whether or not this staff was ignoring their own was quickly put to rest. Well, don't look now, but the race could be on to see who that third commit might be and it just might turn out that yet another Nebraskan calls Lincoln their future home.

You don't have ask Elkhorn Mt. Michael head coach Tom Ridder what lineman Cole Bunner means to him. Well, at least, you don't have to ask him twice. At 6 foot, 5 inches tall, weighing around 300 pounds, even in Class B, where Mt. Michael resides for only the second year after a move up, Cole Bunner stands out.

"Well, he's obviously got the size," Ridder said. "And, we try to use that, of course, but teams expect that so you can't do it all the time."

Size is one thing, but feet, speed, strength, all go into making just a big guy into a quality lineman that could see a prosperous collegiate future. Ridder said that with Cole, that shouldn't be an issue down the road. "I think he's certainly got the potential to play wherever he wants to," Ridder said. "He's going to have to get stronger and quicker, but that's what you expect when you make the move to the next level."

For Bunner himself, he's been doing that for years now, but this off-season is certainly special, because along with working out to gain physically, he's been enjoying the recruiting as well. "It's good," Cole said. "I'm going to a few camps, so it should be a pretty busy summer."

Busy indeed as Cole is set up to camp at Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado State, South Dakota State, Nebraska and a team camp that will be held at Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.

You might think that the camps are almost a matter of just going through the recruiting process, hoping for that offer from the in-state power, but making sure not to ignore any other possibilities down the road.

For Bunner, he's been looking at this, not as a Nebraska kid, but as a prep that might just have what it takes to excel at the next level.

Yeah, as a recruit.

"I'm looking all over," Cole said. "I don't want to limit myself by just thinking about one school or even a couple, so I am taking a look at everyone that is looking at me."

That's a few as Kansas, Kansas State, Colorado State, South Dakota State and Nebraska, have sent him piles upon piles of letters, brochures and just about anything you can think of to promote their individual programs.

Well, everything except written offers.

Perhaps the small school and the stigma behind out-of-state programs getting kids that the Huskers really want have scared them off, but Bunner is hoping that his attending the camps lets them know that he's keeping his options open right now.

"I like a lot of times," Cole said. "I like Kansas a lot, because it's just a good program, I think they are just getting better and it seems like a nice place to be."

"I'm definitely a Husker fan, but I'm being smart about looking around and making sure I do the right thing."

The Kansas and Kansas State camps precede the Nebraska camp and that really brings the question up, regardless if even both the Wildcats and Jayhawks offer Bunner in writing: What happens if NU offers you?

It's a dream come true for most in-state kids, years spent transfixed in front of the tv sets, reading the newspapers, wondering what it would be like to put on the scarlet and cream. Bunner will admit that logic and open-mindedness aside, if Nebraska came forward with the written offer after camp, it would be a hard one to pass up.

"I would probably go there," Bunner said of committing if Nebraska offered. "But, I don't want to make any hasty decisions. I want to give myself a chance to look at other schools at other places, so I know that whatever I decide, I know it's the right place for me."

You can't fault Bunner for wanting to be positive about his decision. Who wouldn't? Even with the pressure and glamour of being the next Husker, Bunner is looking to evaluate his choices very carefully.

If Kansas offers him after their camp and Kansas State does likewise, you never know what could change in the heart and mind of the Mt. Michael standout. "That's why you take the visits, to see what the places are like, what the coaches are like and maybe you just find that place where it feels like that's where you should be."

"That might be Nebraska, but I can't say that yet and I want to give myself the opportunity to see what other places have to offer."

What they can offer him varies with the program, but most are consistent with the type of football he is likely to see. That fits Bunner just fine, because what he has to offer that school is what those programs wanted in the first place. "There's always things to work on, but I'm confident when I'm out there," Cole said. "I'm aggressive, plus I think that I run pretty well for a big guy."

The NIKE camp down in Manhattan, Kansas will bear that out, Bunner running a 5.3 on grass, while notching a 4.9 on the pro-agility run. Bunner also has a 285 bench and a 420 squat.

His coach will be quite confident in saying that Cole has the potential to play and shine at the next level. Bunner, while being more modest about it, will certainly not tell you he can't. Now, the question is, who will offer him first and if it's not Nebraska, will it even matter if the Huskers eventually follow suit?

Time will tell, but with camps right around the corner, the second session of Nebraska's camp starting June 16th, Husker fans might not have to wait long to find out just what the answer to that question is.

Will he or won't he? That's the question. We'll be sure to bring it to you when Cole himself has the answer of whether or not he's a Husker to be.

Big Red Report Top Stories